What is Goff to do?

John Hartevelt asks for ideas for what Phil Goff can do to arrest Labour’s astonishingly poor poll results and che comments on the need for a plan:

Frankly, the plan must be torn up. Goff has to trust his instincts and lay into it. Simply, he must both work harder and relax more. Let’s not forget that Phil Goff has an extraordinary parliamentary record and an undoubted intellect to match. By the time of this year’s election, it will have been three decades since he first entered Parliament. He has been a minister of education, justice, foreign affairs. He’s got brains, and he has seen it all in politics. So why aren’t we seeing this from him now? Let’s hear less of the soundbites pronounced ad nauseam and more intellectual engagement with actual Government policy. It might sound boring, but boring can be good.

Hartevelt says Goff must trust his intincts. But can he remember when he had any? Is he a rogernome or a builder of the state sector?

While Goff is trying to find his insticnts, Labour is burning in the polls.

Back in January, I mused at who would go when Labour’s poll results sunk into the 20s. They are there now so we need to look again. In that post I listed and reviewed the MPs based on Labour holding the polls at 29%, they have sunk now to 27% and indications are they are going to seriously challenge Bill English’s 2002 result.

Since then too there has been the infamous gagle of gays comment and the departure under a cloud of Darren Hughes. Damien O’Connor needs to win West Coast if he is to get back into parliament and Darren Hughes has gone permanently.

Others to fall by the wayside in the list ranking are Ashraf Choudary and Ross Robertson. Ross will get back in anyway. Louisa Wall also was not on the list.

Other MPs at risk now because of the low poll ratings are Steve Chadwick, Rick Barker and Stuart Nash. As the tide goes out for Labour their last remaining provincial seat, Palmerston North, is seriously at risk. With Iain Lees-Galloway going nasty it is likely that National’s candidate Leonie Hapeta will tip him out creating a sea of blue from Manurewa to Mana.

Kelvin Davis is also at risk. He is thoroughly nice guy, who is probably in the wrong party. However he has to battle both a low list ranking and Hone Harawira so his chances of remaining right now are slim.

Right now the only new blood that will make it into parliament from the list is Andrew Little, and that is only going to be bad news for Phil Goff. Cacucus colleagues will now be sitting in the chamber trying to do the math around their particular list ranking and playing out scenarios about what they can do to save their list spot. This is where politics becomes deeply personal and hugely venal. Labour members will be thinking about who could lead that would deliver their list place into parliament.

Labour will deny they are thinking this way, but it is basic human nature and survival. We saw this same behaviour in National in 2002. In the end National acted like Pavlov’s Dogs and sat waiting for the torture. That decision consigned them to 6 more years in opposition.


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  • As I blogged yesterday, it’s not his front bench that Phil Goff needs to watch; the rebellion will come from those who face unemployment in November

  • mark72

    Kelvin Davis is definitely in the wrong party. He talks a lot about personal responsibility and I have always thought that he should be with National. I think he would be a benefit to National.

    • Maybe National could swap him for Bill English. Or Nick Smith. Or Chris Finlayson. Or Tim Groser. Or Steven Joyce. Or John Carter. Or John Key. Or all 7. All of whom are more at home in a collectivist, socialist party than one founded on personal responsibility and small government.

  • whafe

    Labour unfortuantly will not be in Chamber talking strategy, they will be throwing knives n daggers, throwing blame around, when in fact they should be taking a hard look at themselves….

    Goff needs to tell Hulun to fuck off first and foremost and grow a pair of balls or get the fuck out of dodge…. Mmmm who is there to replace him??? mmmmm no one…. Go the succession planning… (National, you need to learn from this)

  • Mr. Infinity

    Knock Knock. “Who’s there?”. Phil Goff. “Phil Goff who?”. Exactly.

  • abjv

    Just re-read your musings from Jan.
    “Dar­ren Hughes Thor­oughly embed­ded in cau­cus and safe.” Dont’ know what he was embedded in but it certainly wasn’t caucus.

    There was an entry in kiwiblog that worked out who was likely to get in, based on assumptions about who would keep their electorates and where the party vote might end up. Assume Labour wins West Coast, gains Wigram, loses Mana and Palmy and has say 25% party vote and it all looks rather sad for new talent for them, doesn’t it?